Category Archives: hat

Creation of a birds nest hat

I draw daily and have a few different styles, depending on where I am, how I feel  etc.

I am an Urban sketcher, I draw on envelopes, I am a nature sketcher, and draw objects .

They are ALWAYS in watercolour pencil, which I love to use, and sometimes use my Lamy Safari Ink Pen. I draw and sketch ALMOST ALWAYS in my watercolour Moleskine sketchbook 13 x 21 cm

I am going to share with you a project that I worked on last year. It is a hat that is a nest !
I created it – (not found in nature like this !!) 
I had put it away for a while, as I got distracted by other drawing projects. But now I have started drawing feathers again and have more nests to draw ( and another hat)

I spent a lot of time this drawing,  more than I have even spent on a piece of art . I was out of my comfort zone in terms of the size of the paper I was working on  (56 x 38cm). When working larger I also had to show more detail and came across a few other issues that perplexed me.

The finished (or is it?) drawing. It is too big to put on my scanner at home, so I have had to take a photograph

Below is how it evolved from an idea to where it is today (above)

In May 2010 I drew a hat that I owned for an Everyday Matters Challenge “Draw something old”. Years ago I was given an old hat box and inside it were two hats.

hat I was given

quail eggs from the markets


In 2012 I went to a local community art class and we were encouraged to draw a still life – thinking outside of the box. These are some quail eggs that bought from the local markets to draw.  I drew on a large on a large sheet of cartridge paper. It did not take the water very well, so I left it as watercolour pencil.  It is not very different from the final result

experiment on cartridge paper
I decided to take this on as a project. The hat/nest/eggs sat on my dining table for weeks on end over the course of the drawing
I did the first sketch in a large size on a spare sheet of paper .  
I bought a large sheet of paper Fabriano (56 x 38cm). (not sure what weight) and started on the hat

I had done quite a lot of work on the hat and realised that I had better figure out where the quail eggs were going to sit. They were hollowed out so were very light and I used blue tack to try and get them to stay in the same place. But a slight knock against the dining table sometimes had my careful arrangement collapsing

I had to experiment to try and allow for the light coloured hat netting to be seen against the dark fur. I used fluid masking fluid for the first time – varying degrees of success.  I experimented on a spare sheet of paper but the final version had varying areas of success.

You can’t add a lighter colour over a darker colour with watercolour pencils. I discovered that watersoluble crayons were successful for adding lighter highlights and lines. I could not add much contrast or detail, but they were useful

I then needed to add the branches where the nest/hat is sitting.
I photocopied the drawing in colour and did a lot of rubbing out and changing. Some branch placings just did not look right. There was a lot of experimentation again as the angle had to be just right so that it looked like it was actually sitting in the tree. This is something I should have thought of when I planned the page. It took a while and asking a lot of advice from friends. A good suggestion was to hold it up against a mirror to see if it looked ok.
where to place the branches

The next decision was to how to draw the branches – sketchy, detailed, coloured, graphite??

 I did some mock ups in each style and held them up against the hat/nest.

 My final decision was to a sketchy graphite, with a hint of watercolour . See the final drawing at the top of the page

So after many, many weeks it was time to put the nest and eggs back in the display cabinet, and put my drawing away for a while. But I have taken it out now and am a lot happier with it than I was at the time . I was too close to my work – like a university assignment that you have worked on for too long and makes complete sense to you ,but also no sense at all.

I will add a few tweaks and put it up on the wall. Then I can start on the next one- did  mention I got two hats in the hat box !